25 Old-School Photos of HBCU Students

As we celebrate "College Signing Day" with Michelle Obama, we're taking a look back at the Black scholars who sought out education by creating their own opportunities at Historically Black Colleges and Universities—paving the way for us today.

ESSENCE.COM Aug, 19, 2015

 

1 of 25 Francis Miller/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Spelman College graduate June Dobbs with her family in 1948 in Atlanta. 

2 of 25 Donald Uhrbrock/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

A student rally at Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1960.

3 of 25 Robert Abbott Sengstacke / Getty Images

Students watching Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral in 1968 at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

4 of 25

Students lounge on the lawn of Howard University's campus in 1946 in Washington D.C.

5 of 25 Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Coeds on campus at Howard University in Washington D.C in 1946.

6 of 25 Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images

Law graduating class in formal attire on the steps of Howard University, Washington DC in the early 1900s.  

7 of 25 Alfred Eisenstaedt/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Two students filling prescriptions in School of Pharmacy at Howard University in Washtington D.C in 1946.

8 of 25 Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Students performing on string instruments in music class at Howard University in Washtington D.C in 1946.  

9 of 25 Alfred Eisenstaedt/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Editorial staff of the Hill Top, the student paper at Howard University in Washington D.C. in 1946.

10 of 25 Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Students studying in Reading Room of Howard University Library in Washtington D.C. in 1946.

11 of 25 Bernd Lohse/Three Lions/Getty Images

A student at Tuskegee University in Alabama learns to print a newspaper page in the Institute's printing works in 1955. Booker T Washington, an early principal of Tuskegee developed the university as a place of education for the black population.  

12 of 25 Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images

 A mechanical drawing class at the Tuskegee Institute in 1902.

13 of 25 PhotoQuest/Getty Images

Junior Class in Farm Management at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in 1940.

14 of 25 Howard Sochurek

Civil Rights Leaders with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Atlanta University (now known as Clark Atlanta University) in 1960.

15 of 25 Howard Sochurek

Civil Rights student leaders from all over the South at Atlanta University (now known as Clark Atlanta University) to meet with Dr. Martin Luther King on desegregation strategy and organizing sit-ins, in 1960.

16 of 25 Buyenlarge/Getty Images

Football Team at Claflin University in 1899 in South Carolina.

17 of 25 Buyenlarge/Getty Images

Manual training shop at Claflin University, Orangeburg, S.C. in 1899.

18 of 25 Buyenlarge/Getty Images

Junior preparatory class of Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee in 1899.  

19 of 25 Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images

Fraternities celebrate with music and dancing during pledge competitions at Fisk University, Nashville, TN in 1969.

20 of 25 Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images

Fraternity pledges for Omega Psi Phi practice their stepping routine in the Fisk University gymnasium in Nashville, Tennessee, 1969. 

21 of 25 Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images

Fraternity pledges for Omega Psi Phi practice their stepping routine in the Fisk University gymnasiun in Nashville, Tennessee in 1969. 

22 of 25 Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images

Pledges from the Zeta Phi Beta sorority gather together at the gymnasium to perform during one of their pledge rituals at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee in 1969. 

23 of 25 Herbert/Frederic Lewis/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Students in a laboratory at Hampton Institute (now Hampton University), Hampton, Virginia, USA, circa 1945. Like many other historically black universities, the institution was established shortly after the US Civil War.

24 of 25 Buyenlarge/Getty Images

Native and African American women studying the human respiratory system at Hampton Institute, Hampton, Va. in 1900.

25 of 25 The Abbott Sengstacke Family Papers/Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images

A group portrait showing the members of the track and field team at Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in Hampton, VA in 1930.